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Exploring US Topo GeoPDF's

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In this Video, We will learn about USGS US Topo map products. I will give you some background information about US Topo, show you where it can be accessed, and also show you the GeoPDF functionality and Terrago tools available for use with the GeoPDF. Digital USGS Topographic Maps are modeled on the standard 7.5 minute USGS quads. The newer digital maps are published using Adobe Systems Inc. Portable Document Format (PDF) with a geospatial extension called GeoPDF utilizing TerraGo technologies. GeoPDFs can be opened in Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Professional. The free version of Adobe is available for download on the Adobe website, . USTopo maps are layered, and have an Orthoimage base. They are produced on a three year cycle so that the imagery you see in the map is never older than three years across the country. Most importantly, these maps can be downloaded for free on the web, or for a small fee, USGS will mail you a printed map. There are a couple of different ways that you can download a map. You can access USTopo GeoPDF’s through the USGS Map Store or by going to The National Map Viewer. The USGS Map store and TNM viewer allow you to download all the topographic maps ever produced by the USGS, including historic maps. The TNM Viewer additionally has the capability for downloading many of the data layers shown on the GeoPDF’s as GIS data. The difference between the two viewers is that the GeoPDF’s from the Map store are available for immediate download while the GeoPDF’s from the viewer will send you an email with the download ftp location. Once you download a map, you may wish to install the TerraGo Toolbar for enhanced geospatial tools, however you do not need the TerraGo Toolbar to use a map. You can download these free tools from the TerraGo website.Let’s take a look at a US Topo GeoPDF. This is the Frankfort East, KY Quad. This Quad is 1:24,000 scale, like many USGS maps. In the lower right hand corner of the map you will see your curser location coordinate display. There are many data layers included in the table of contents on the left hand panel of the Map. Let’s take a look at these layers. Some of the vector layers that you may immediately notice are the Roads, Hydrography, and Contours. Other features shown on the map are Structures, Boundaries, Public Land Survey System grids, and Woodland land cover. The source information may be found in the attached metadata file. We will look at this map’s metadata in more detail later on in the tutorial. Underlying these vector layers are imagery and shaded relief layers. You can turn any layer visibility on or off by clicking the eye icon next to the layer name. Let’s explore the map’s layers and features in more detail. Notice in the table of content that the features are organized in different folders and are layered in the same way that they are layered within the map. At the highest level in the table of contents, features are broken up into three folders including Map Collar, Map Frame, and Images. As we expand some of these folders, you will see that the features within them may be defaulted to be turned off. The Map Frame contains all the features that are found within the map. Let’s zoom in to an area in the map where we can clearly see some of these map features. You will probably immediately notice the contours in the map. The contour interval will be shown in the collar at the bottom of the map. In this map, the interval is 40 feet. At 200 ft increments, the contour lines will be thicker in width and be labeled. The transportation features are another important feature on the map. These roads are symbolized using a functional road classification. For example, the expressways are symbolized with a thick red line with a brown border whereas the local roads are a light gray. You will also notice the hydrographic features such as streams, lakes, inundation areas, and others. Take a look at the legend to learn more about how these features are symbolized. If you installed the TerraGo toolbar, you will notice that there are many TerraGo tools available for use with the US Topo GeoPDF. To open the TerraGo Tools go to the TerraGgo Tab in the Adobe Navigation Panel. These tools are useful for exploring and making measurements on the map.Included as attachments with the GeoPDF are a legend as well as an xml metadata file. The legend will show how each feature is represented on the map. The Metadata is best viewed with Internet Explorer but can also be viewed in other browsers. Note that the XML document shows bold and colored text, and indentations for ease in identification of the different sections of the document. USTopo Maps are regularly updated electronic topographic maps that provide customizable, highly detailed, interactive features with information layering capabilities that will become richer in detail with each revision cycle. These digital maps are free and can be downloaded from the USGS store or the National Map viewer.


Title: Exploring US Topo GeoPDF's


The USTopo podcast is a video tutorial series on how to use US Topo GeoPDF's. Exploring US Topo GeoPDF's provides background information on the map product.

Location: Denver, CO, USA

Date Taken: 3/25/2013

Length: 6:20

Video Producer: Kathryn Isham , U.S. Geological Survey- NGTOC

Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

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Tags: Boundaries GeoPDF Hydrography LandCover NHD Roads Structures TNM TheNationalMap Trails Transportation USTopo Woodland


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